|"Purple Glory" (watercolor, 20" x 14")|
I have painted these majestic purple irises from my garden many times, but never get tired of them. Sadly they died out. So, in a way, the paintings are a reminder of the ephemeral nature of life. "Purple Glory" had received the Best in Show award in the Potomac Valley Watercolorists Green Spring Show in 2007 and got sold in a solo show at the NIH in Bethesda, MD.
I missed the painting, so decided to do another version, this time in oil. They are quite different, aren't they? The watercolor version is bigger and more "detailed" or "refined" than "Purple Irises." I paint oils in the alla prima way--that is, finish the painting in one session. This method requires a truly full concentration, as each stroke matters. There is an urgency and immediacy that cannot be achieved in the more traditional indirect painting method.
You may prefer the watercolor painting, but as my aesthetics have evolved, it now feels too detached. I don't feel the presence of the artist who worked furiously to get the irises just right. As a watercolorist, I think, I was reluctant to reveal myself and get in the way of the viewer's appreciation of the subject. What do you think?